MPs from four New Zealand political parties have signed a declaration by the International Parliamentarians for West Papua.
This follows an address at parliament by the West Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda who is in New Zealand raising awareness about his Indonesian-ruled homeland.
Eleven members signed the International Parliamentarians' declaration, calling for a self-determination vote in Papua.
Mr Wenda said the cross-party support is a sign of growing global solidarity.
"It's not one particular party but Labour, Greens, National (and Maori Party), they're all signing the declaration. So this is, they show that around the world this fight is about a humanitarian issue. People believe in justice and freedom. That's why these MPs are signing the declaration for West Papua internationally-supervised vote."
Benny Wenda also participated in a march today to the Indonesian embassy in Wellington where demonstrators protested against Indonesian rule in Papua.
2) Indonesia’s flip-flop policy on Freeport to damage investment climate: Experts
Viriya P. Singgih The Jakarta Post
Jakarta | Thu, May 11, 2017 | 09:14 am
The government’s policy flip-flop in the mining sector, which has led to a prolonged dispute with gold and copper miner PT Freeport Indonesia, will likely damage the country’s investment climate, in the long run, should there be no good will to accommodate the interests of all stakeholders, experts and analysts have suggested.
The subsidiary of the American mining giant Freeport-McMoRan Inc. has been in a deadlock over its operations as the government demands a conversion of its contract of work (CoW) signed in 1991 into a so-called special mining license (IUPK), a move that will automatically annul the company’s longterm investment stability guarantee provided in the CoW.
While many scholars and activists have shown their support for the government’s tough stance, particularly in the name of nationalism, others have also commented that such a move will badly affect Indonesia’s investment climate as it has been proven to be plagued with uncertainties.
Ridho Kresna Wattimena, a mining expert with the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), said that Freeport Indonesia had invested a large amount of money developing the underground mine at the Grasberg site in Papua, the world’s largest gold mine and second-largest copper mine, by using the block caving method.
“The block caving itself can cost from US$2 billion to $10 billion. However, by using this method, a miner could spend 15 years just to make the tunnels and disburse 70 percent of its capital without getting anything in return,” Ridho said during a discussion held by the Indonesian Mining Association (IMA) on Monday.
Ridho said it was natural for Freeport Indonesia to demand a long-term investment stability guarantee as the development of an underground mine would take a long time and was riddled with risks.
Freeport Indonesia has operated the Grasberg open pit facility since 1988. It is estimated that, as of today, the company has mined 1.7 billion tons of the 3.8 billion tons that are Grasberg ’s total mineral reserves.
Under the CoW, the miner is initially required to sell 51 percent of its stake by 2011, or 45 percent if it has sold a minimum of 20 percent in the local stock market.
However, a string of regulations were issued along the way that eventually allowed Freeport Indonesia to dodge the requirement until the government reversed its course earlier this year.
Center for Indonesia Taxation Analysis (CITA) executive director Yustinus Prastowo said both the Indonesian government and Freeport Indonesia should sit together and talk through their differences wisely, especially the ones related to divestment.
At present, Freeport-McMoRan owns 90.64 percent of the company, while 9.36 percent is owned by the government.
Faulty administrative procedures led to the misuse of village development funds in Papua
On a bright Wednesday afternoon in a village in Papua Province, I was trailing after Toni, a sub-district facilitator of Indonesia’s massive National Community Empowerment Program, PNPM. He showed me the various new amenities and roads built with funds from the program. When I took pictures of a shiny new toilet block, Toni admitted that the toilets often remained unused. He called the unused toilet blocks ‘development monuments’: they look very nice but do not serve a practical purpose.
As the new Village Law aims to make large funds available for village development, it is important to reflect on the experience of the PNPM. This program served as inspiration for the Village Law. As under the new Village Law, over the last eight years the PNPM has enabled villages to spend quite large budgets on local infrastructure budgets. Moreover, the PNPM had adopted various measures to promote citizen participation in the decision-making about the use of the budgets. Why then did I encounter so many PNPM ‘monuments’ that were hardly used?
An impressive yet sometimes ineffective program
Under the PNPM, funds from the central and provincial government were disbursed directly to villages. To acquire these funds, villages were required to develop proposals in open, deliberative meetings. These meetings were organised and supported by PNPM facilitators, who also oversaw the execution of the projects. In contrast to the provisions of the new Village Law, the facilitators operated largely independently of village heads and the village apparatus.
The PNPM allowed the funds to be used for a wide range of needs. In practice about 70 per cent of the budgets of the chosen projects related to local infrastructure such as roads, toilets, markets, posyandu (health posts), pustu (community health centres) and village halls. The program reached an impressive 87 per cent of all villages in Papua – arguably the only government program that reaches such a large group of rural Papuans. The PNPM also succeeded in executing thousands of infrastructure projects.
Yet, many of these toilets blocks, markets and village halls now sit idle. According to one estimate from AKATIGA in 2011, up to 67 per cent of PNPM-funded facilities in Papua are hardly used. In my own study of 12 villages in rural Papua, I found that on average over half of all projects ended up as unused ‘monuments’. I also regularly came across projects that end up being used for other purposes: toilet blocks were turned into motorcycle garages; empty market places were used as hangouts for the local youth; and a community health centre became a village hall.
The need for easy projects
One explanation for all these underutilised infrastructure projects is that PNPM facilitators face incentives to promote ‘easy’ projects. As I observed in my study, the PNPM facilitators tend to avoid more complex projects that might cause delays. For example, when I asked a facilitator why he built a new toilet block in a village when an existing one could simply be repaired, he answered that such a project enabled him to spend more money and use more manpower. In other words, building new toilet blocks would make it easier for him to meet his administrative targets.
For the same reason PNPM facilitators developed a preference for a specific type of facilities. Toni explained to me he often tried to direct the community to build infrastructures that were ‘convenient’ for him. He preferred to build facilities that had been built before: ‘I do not want to start from scratch. I will use the previous template then re-adjust and make the revision. This is easier and saves a lot of time’. If he would build a new facility or try a new design ‘there will be uncertainty and I am worried that we will not be able to finish it on time’.
Unused toilet block. Source: Yulia Indri Sari
Papua’s complex terrain – its inaccessibility, pervasive conflict and social hierarchies – partly explain this preference for such easy projects. For example, new toilet blocks often ended up being unused because there was no water supply. Arranging and maintaining water supply can be quite a challenge. In one village with unused toilets I asked Tony why he did not install pipes to channel water in from the nearby river. Toni told me that this was difficult because the pipes ran across other tribes’ territories. Unless the villagers provide these tribes with compensation (a pig being the preferred form), the pipes were under threat of being damaged. Toni explained that even if he could broker and agreement between the leaders of the tribes, other members would also start to ask for compensation. Toni admitted he did not have enough time spend time to facilitate dialogue between the competing tribes: ‘It is too much for me, I do not have time and energy to work on this. I need to conduct more meetings and fill in the paperwork or otherwise I do not get paid’.
Another example concerns pustu. These also often remain unused because of the unavailability of nurses to run them. To make a pustu operational, PNPM facilitators would have to cooperate with the health agency of the district government to ensure the availability of a nurse. A facilitator told me that he helped the village head to send a letter requesting a nurse. He received no response. I asked the facilitator why they asked this only after the pustu was built. He answered, ‘I do not [communicate with the health agency] because it takes time. Most of the times they will not respond.’ Then why build the pustu? ‘Maybe someday there will be a nurse. Therefore, [the aim] for me now is only to build a pustu, just to achieve the target.’
An administrator or a facilitator?
Given the participatory set-up of the PNPM, why do villagers fail to pressure these facilitators to ensure the funded projects serve their needs? The short answer is that the participation of villagers in decision-making is in practice often quite limited. When facilitators visit villages, they often choose to limit their interaction to specific village members, such as tribe leaders, heads of villages, or community members with construction skills. As Toni explained, ‘That is enough, as long as they accept my presence and agree on my proposed facilities, the process would go smoothly’. Toni usually avoids spending time with other groups in the village because this would prolong the funding disbursement process. He pointed out that ‘it takes time to talk to people. The more people involved, the more disagreements come up. This will prolong the process.’ Thus, although the PNPM was designed to be participatory, in practice the decision-making process in Papua is reduced to a few ritualised meetings between facilitators and village elites. The focus on a smooth and timely execution of projects erodes the possibility of having meaningful deliberation and participation from villagers.
Yet it would be wrong to put all the blame for the many unused village facilities on the local PNPM administrators. Toni is considered to be a good facilitator, regularly praised for his capacity to submit and finish projects in time. The function of facilitators like Toni is a response to the way in which the PNPM program is administrated. PNPM facilitators face a set of incentives that leave them with limited options. Their work is evaluated through fixed administrative criteria. The responsible ministry, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHa), focuses its evaluation and oversight on budget spending and financial audits. The actual substantive impact is of less concern. For example, in the required reporting to MoHa the functionality and utility of the build infrastructure – such as whether the toilets actually have running water – is not considered. What matters is that the budgets are spent, and that there is a visible construction.
To fulfill these evaluative requirements, the facilitators need to do a lot. They need to oversee the completion of various projects, ensure that all the required participatory meetings have taken place, and submit all the necessary financial documents and progress reports in a timely manner. Failure to execute projects or to submit these reports on time will impact the salary and promotion prospects of facilitators. This explains why PNPM facilitators prefer easy projects even if they remain unused. These incentives have turned facilitators into administrators.
Lessons for the implementation of the Village Law?
Obviously, not all PNPM-funded projects turned into monuments. I came across rainwater reservoirs that were fully operational, pustu staffed by responsible and attentive nurses, useful new roads and even toilets with running water. These successes were possible when facilitators went beyond administrative procedures and reached out to communities. In these cases, communities also knew how to use and maintain the facilities.
Village development funds are misused when administrative procedures become overpowering. Local leaders – whether facilitators or, under the Village Law, the village heads – need to be motivated to focus on practical solutions rather than merely spending budgets. And meaningful community participation is important. The unused ‘development monuments’ now dotting Papua’s landscape are a strong reminder of what happens when a local development program fails to engage with village communities in a meaningful way.
Yulia Indri Sari (email@example.com) is a PhD candidate at Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
Jayapura, Jubi – The Pacific Island nations consisted of Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Nauru, Palau and the Marshall Islands delivered a hard-hitting joint statement on May 3 condemning Indonesia’s human rights violations, including crimes against humanity, at the Council of Ministers of the 79-member Africa Caribbean Pacific Group of States (ACP) and called for an eventual resolution that includes support of the right of West Papuan political self-determination.
The coalition of states, which is known as Pacific Islands Coalition for West Papua (PICWP), represented by Johnny Koanapo, a high-ranking member of the Republic of Vanuatu parliament and Parliamentary Secretary for the Office of the Prime Minister.
Koanapo speech, according to a press statement delivered to Jubi on May 5, transfixed the packed council room as he graphically described Indonesia’s violations and West Papuans’ “slow-motion genocide.”
After the meeting, Koanapo stated that the day’s discussion “now sets up the great likelihood of a resolution on the full range of West Papua issues at the next ACP ministerial council meeting”, which is scheduled for this coming November.
During the past several years, the coalition of Pacific Island nations, echoing the West Papuans, has argued in regional and international venues that Indonesian violations will not be ended by focusing just on human rights. There needs to be a proper act of self-determination or the conflict, which damages Indonesia, as well as West Papua, will continue indefinitely. The ACP appears to be coming to the same conclusion.
In his speech Koanapo said that the seven Pacific nations were “very concerned [that] the international community had neglected the voices of the Papuan people over the last 50 years.”
The ACP, he stated, was the right place to seek further support for the plight of West Papua because African and Caribbean countries are “the oldest defenders of West Papua’s right to self-determination” and consistently tried to defend the Melanesian West Papuans as they “were passed from one colonizer to another” more than a half century ago.
The ACP, which was founded in 1975, is comprised of almost all former colonies itself.
Estimates of indigenous West Papuans killed during Indonesia’s rule range from 10 and 25 percent of the population, he said, or several hundred thousand people.
Koanapo contended that according to numerous reports “those deaths and all the associated acts – the violent arrests of non-violent protestors, the beatings, the torture, rape, disappearances, extra-judicial executions, intimidation of the local Papuan media, the barring of foreign media from the territory – have continued through the 20 years of [Indonesian] democracy.”
However, Koanapo added: “this forgotten race [is] still fighting.”
Under a policy of state-supported population movement, more than two million Indonesians have also settled in the territory. They now outnumber the indigenous Papuans and dominate the economy and almost every arena of life in the cities, towns, coastal areas and growing zones of mining, logging, gas and oil production and plantation agriculture.
More international pressure
This is the fourth round of ACP discussions and sharing of information on West Papua. ACP meetings at the subcommittee and ambassadorial level during the past two months are said have elicited almost universal affirmations of strong support for West Papuan self-determination among delegates from Africa and the Caribbean.
At May 3 meeting of Council of Ministers, the Papua New Guinea ambassador Joshua Kalinoe, whose country shares a 760km-long border with its powerful Indonesian neighbor, was the only delegate to speak against ACP moving forward on such a resolution in the months ahead.
The PNG ambassador conceded that “no one is denying that the human rights violations are going on.” He suggested that a fact-finding mission to West Papua might be necessary for the ACP to get a clearer picture of the situation.
Ambassador Alfredo Lopez Cabral from Guinea-Bissau spoke directly after the PNG ambassador, comparing the plight of West Papua to East Timor, which Indonesia violently invaded and occupied for 24 years. More than one quarter of East Timor’s population reportedly died as a direct result of Indonesian rule. Guinea-Bissau and other former Portuguese African colonies were leaders in the long campaign on behalf of East Timor, which had earlier been a colony of Portugal, and is now the independent country of Timor Leste.
Ambassador Cabral said that there was “no reason why the ACP shouldn’t take up the issue and help” West Papua gain a similar referendum on independence to what East Timor finally received after the fall of Indonesia’s Suharto dictatorship in 1998 and mounting international pressure. (*)
The issue of human rights violations and self-determination in West Papua rose to its highest international level in nearly fifty years. This move by PICWP at the 79-member Africa, Caribbean, Pacific Group of States and asked the assembled governments to join their advocacy added to more pressure against Indonesia government in international level.(*)
Jakarta, Jubi – Space for freedom of expression, especially for those who want to campaign for the right to self-determination or separatist issues in Papua, is deliberately limited. As a result all expression related to it is prohibited, repressed, or to be criminalized by application of the articles of treason.
This has direct implications for the restrictions on access to the press in and to Papua by foreign and local journalists, both for those who want to cover the issue and verify what is happening on the ground.
Executive Director of Amnesty International Indonesia Representative, Usman Hamid made the statement in a public discussion of Papua Side Event related to press freedom in West Papua at Century Park Hotel, Jakarta, Tuesday May 2 2017.
“The separatist discourse is one of the warmest topics in Indonesia, and of course Papua is in the spotlight. Indonesia has never compromised the issue since Soekarno era to post Soeharto. All related expressions are prohibited and repressed, or criminalized under the article,” said Usman Hamid.
He explained that Papua once had experienced a “spring” of freedom of expression in the era of Abdulrahman Wahid (Gusdur) government, but did not last long after Megawati served and followed by SBY.
In the era of Joko Widodo, there was a fresh breeze to open space for journalist’s access, but the reality on the field showed differently.
“Under Jokowi today, the reality in the field is different from the promises and statements. What is happening now is that “anyone van speaks about Papua as long as they don’t damage Indonesia reputation, ” said Usman.
On May 10, 2015 in an interview with Al Jazeera, President Joko Widodo once stated that he has ordered all parties in Papua, including the military and police to open access for foreign journalists, including removing special procedures or ‘clearing house’ (a special procedure of coverage for foreign journalists).
Restriction by Military territorial command
Usman noted there are some restrictions that repel freedom of expression in Papua. It takes form of access restrictions (media), content restrictions, blocking and manipulation of information/news.
“The restriction of the content is used as a method to neutralize social media activities that are considered harmful to the country. Website blocking occurred since SBY, there were four (websites) in his era and added about ten (websites) recently. Even the past few years began to develop groups that are believed to be ‘artificial military/intelligence’ that do cyber bully against the pro-self determination online activities,” he said.
After working hard, Usman claimed to have successfully discussed the matter with the Ministry of Communications and Information (Kominfo) until finally they acknowledge that the blocking was at the request of Indonesian military.
“In this case is the KODAM (Teritorial Military Command) in Papua. So it is not through court, or through other legal mechanisms to justify the blocking,” Usman said.
Particularly with regard to restrictions on Papua news portal suarapapua.com, Usman sees it as politically charged, “the most frequent visit to the website is from the Ministry of Defense, meaning they are monitoring the website constantly,” he said.
Although restricted in such a way, the expression and news related to issues of self-determination and human rights violations in Papua are increasingly creative in foreign media.
David Robie, Director of Pacific Media Center (PMC) and university lecturer in Auckland, New Zealand at the Papua Side Event’s discussion showed several creative artistic campaigns through online media and social media on West Papua issues.
“The West Papua creative campaign is conducted by diasporas (Papuans living abroad) and solidarity in the Pacific. These brought a lot of information to the public abroad,” said the journalist who has been active across the globe for more than 40 years.
It makes international pressure increasing. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on May 2 condemned the Indonesian government’s ‘double game’ attitude which on one hand hosted the WFPD 2017, but on the other hand continued violations of journalist’s freedom of rights in Papua.
The RSF’s criticism was related to the violence against Jubi journalist Yance Wenda by the Jayapura Resort Police on May 1.
“We strongly condemn police violence against Yance Wenda, and we call for investigations of the perpetrators and their superiors who have encouraged the brutality, and brought the case to justice,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, head of the RSF Asia-Pacific.(*)